Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Local man sentenced to 16 years in prison for kidnapping law student last August

St. Louis County Police

William Cobbins appears in a mug shot following his arrest for kidnapping a University law student in August 2012. Cobbins was sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty in November 2013.

William Cobbins, the man convicted of kidnapping a Washington University law student from a campus garage at knifepoint and forcing her to withdraw money from ATMs, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

On Aug. 28, 2012, a student was getting into her car in the Snow Way garage when she says she was approached by a man—later identified as Cobbins—who said he had a knife. Cobbins then ordered her to drive him to multiple ATMs, where he forced her to withdraw money—reportedly about $1,000—from her bank account. After dropping Cobbins off in St. Louis, the victim reported the incident to Washington University police.

Cobbins was found guilty on Nov. 1 of kidnapping, robbery and two counts of armed criminal action, and he was sentenced on Dec. 5. Prosecutors had requested a 22-year sentence for Cobbins while a St. Louis County jury recommended 34 years.

Cobbins was sentenced to 12 years for kidnapping, 10 years for robbery in the first degree, 8 years for one count of armed criminal action and 4 years for the other count. The first three sentences will be served concurrently.

“The fact that Mr. Cobbins was arrested, found guilty and sentenced should make not only Washington University but the entire community safer,” Chief of Police Don Strom said.

Cobbins is currently being held in a Department of Corrections assessment unit and will be moved to a corrections unit within about 30 days.

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  • Mike says:

    GOTCHA

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  • anonymous says:

    ““The fact that Mr. Cobbins was arrested, found guilty and sentenced should make not only Washington University but the entire community safer,” Chief of Police Don Strom said”

    I don’t agree with this. It’s great that they were able to find, convict and sentence the perpetrator but this does not take away the fact that the crime still happened. This does not make the student’s traumatic experience disappear.

    I will feel safer when we stop having so much crime like this on and near campus. Taking one criminal off the streets doesn’t take away from the fact that there is still insufficient security to prevent crime in the area.

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    • Keith_Stone says:

      There will never––really, never––be sufficient security to protect everyone at all times when WashU’s campus is located pretty much on the dividing line of one of the most neglected, decayed, and economically depressed ghettos in the country. It doesn’t take much for someone who’s destitute and desperate to target a vulnerable WUSTLy.

      It’s not a problem of increasing security, or else we’d have cops, cameras, and squad cars on every corner (and drones in the sky) before random crime stops.

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878